It is nothing new. The suffering of the rich it has always been the engine of fictions of all kinds, from the most sophisticated period melodrama to the most uncouth television soap opera. So have, of course, the carefreeness and joy of lives without financial constraints, the lure of luxury, the possibility of fulfilling dreams when reaching the end of the month is not, by any means, something that worries the characters. . Nevertheless, Is it possible that the times determine how we approach those stories? Is it possible that they determine what the series and movies are like (and how we approach them) in which the houses are luxurious, the clothes are very expensive, the professions seem invented and the characters travel all the time? Several proposals coincide in time, all very different, in which the characters suffer a lot, a lot, for all the reasons in the world except for not making ends meet. Last year came Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘La voz humana’, a short film in which Tilda Swinton she cries for heartbreak dressed in haute couture and surrounded by expensive objects. This year two extraordinary series about couple crisis have been released: ‘Secrets of a marriage’ and the third season of ‘Master of None’. In them the characters have a very hard time, but they do it in the shelter of incredible houses and never for reasons of precariousness. The protagonists of two other fundamental series of this year, proposals of a more playful nature, do not go through financial hardships either. One is ‘The White Lotus’, sharp – and pure Twitter – satire of the rich (and class difference) explained from the guests of a luxury resort. The other is ‘Succession’, a series that is in its third season and has turned the family battle for the inheritance of a media empire into a colossal soap opera. And nowhere are two other films released whose stories are tragically marked by wealth: ‘Spencer’, in which Pablo Larrain addresses the misery of Princess Diana, and ‘The Gucci House’, the criminal drama of Ridley Scott about the tremendous family history behind the famous luxury brand.
It is quite evident that, at this moment (and perhaps pointing to the worldwide success of Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasites’ as a starting point), we neither seek nor find comfort in the account of the lives of the rich. Contemporary fiction has detected that, today, luxury is not an option as an escapist fantasy. For obvious reasons, because the combination of precariousness and anger deprives anyone of the desire to see how others enjoy their opulence, fictions abound in which the rich also cry. Fictions abound in which, in the service of our relief, those rich, in addition to crying, are despicable people. And fictions abound that invite us directly to vent our indignation on these petty characters. Some are better than others, but they all serve an interesting double function. On the one hand, they serve as catharsis and consolation. On the other, they try (as far as possible) to transcend the subject and the argument to think the human condition.